Letter #14, 2017: The Quest

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April 23, 2017, Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday “Christian liturgy is a liturgy of promise fulfilled, of a quest, the religious quest of human history, reaching its goal. But it remains a liturgy of hope. It, too, bears within it the mark of impermanence. The new Temple, not made by human hands, does exist, but it […]

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Letter #13, 2017: Holy Saturday

April 15, 2017, Holy Saturday From Norcia to Chieti During Holy Saturday, on the Vigil of Easter, silence. Time to stand apart. To stand aside. To divest of all, thoughts, hopes, judgments, even fears. To divest, to unclothe, as did Francis of Assisi, before the bishop of Assisi in 1207, when he gave back everything […]

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Letter #1, 2017: Avalanche and Prayer

January 19, 2017, Thursday — Avalanche and Prayer Further heartbreaking news from central Italy. Yesterday morning four earthquakes hit central Italy. We could feel the tremors here in Rome, just slightly. At first it seemed that no one had been hurt. Then came the news that as many as 30 people had been buried in […]

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Letter #65, 2016: “The Church Has Collapsed”

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October 31, 2016, Monday — The Basilica of St. Benedict in Norcia, Italy, at the birthplace of St. Benedict (480-529 A.D.), has completely collapsed due to an earthquake, but thankfully… no lives have been lost in Norcia and the monks and nuns in the city are all safe “The Basilica of St. Benedict is destroyed.’” […]

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Letter #52, 2016: Why Benedict Resigned

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August 26, 2016, Friday — Emeritus Pope Benedict Lives “At the Still Point of the Turning World” “Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith… and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord showed […]

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Letter #51, 2016: Earthquake in Norcia

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August 25, 2016, Thursday — Two Monks Remain… “There is an incident in the anonymous Life of Ceolfrith which may refer to the young Bede. A plague swept through Ceolfrith’s monastery in 686, taking most of the monks who sang in the choir… Only the abbot and a young boy raised and educated by him […]

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Letter #5, 2016: The Renewal Will Come from Norcia

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January 21, 2016, Thursday — “A regression without precedent” “To create new and lasting unity (in Europe), political, economic and juridical instruments are important, but it is also necessary to awaken an ethical and spiritual renewal which draws on the Christian roots of the Continent, otherwise a new Europe cannot be built.”—Pope Benedict XVI, April […]

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Letter #12, 2015: Vespers in Norcia

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April 18, 2015, Friday — Vespers in Norcia “I pray that I and all those God has given me to know and love here might live in such a way that God’s will for the salvation of the world will be realized.” —Prayer of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who died yesterday at the age […]

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Letter #11, 2015: Matins in Norcia

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April 17, 2015, Friday — Matins in Norcia “Christ Jesus, high priest of the new and eternal covenant, taking human nature, introduced into this earthly exile that hymn which is sung throughout all ages in the halls of heaven. He joins the entire community of mankind to Himself, associating it with His own singing of […]

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Letter # 47, 2014: Happy New Year

A Blessed New Year Wednesday, December 31, 2014 I write from the little town of Norcia, Italy, where St. Benedict was born. Here, the year is drawing to an end with snow flurries and temperatures below freezing. Above the city, snow-covered muntain peaks were shrouded in mist all day. Father Cassian and the monks here […]

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Top Ten People 2011: Father Cassian Folsum, O.S.B.

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Sometimes we are able to see a splendid adventure of life and in faith just at the moment that it is unfolding. And we are able to watch the struggles, and challenges, and successes, of a man, or group of men, and even to participate with them in that adventure. Such is the case with […]

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